From Flushing Meadows

Well obviously I’m disappointed with the result of my first round match against Hewitt. However, I am proud of the way that I competed and felt that my level was pretty solid for the most part (especially for being my third tournament back after over 6 months off). I think my biggest issue was that I haven’t been able to train quite as hard as I’ve wanted to, and that forced me to play too aggressive in the final set. My legs just weren’t quite there and didn’t feel like I could extend a ton of the rallies. Another huge factor was that I didn’t serve well. I probably broke him enough to win two matches, but just never got a good rhythm on my serve. He obviously returns well, but I should never lose my serve that many times.
Brian Baker at the US Open -- photo by Cynthia Lum

Brian Baker at the US Open — photo by Cynthia Lum

On the bright side, I’m still alive in the doubles with my good friend Rajeev Ram. We won our first match against the youngsters who won Kalamazoo earlier this month (Ronnie Schneider and Paul Oosterbaan). It was definitely an interesting match because Ronnie and Rajeev are good friends from Indianapolis and share the same coach, Bryan Smith. It was all business during the match, but I’m sure it was tough on Rajeev to play his good friend in his first US Open experience.

 

Today we play the 7 seeds, Benneteau and Zimonjic. They are a great team who has been in good form lately (won DC). However, Rajeev an I are a confident team and truly believe we can beat anyone out here if we play well. If we take care if our service games, we should be in good shape.

 

Time to go get on the bike and see my trainer before our 10:45 warmup. We play 2nd after women’s doubles, so we will probably go on around 12:30.

 

Brian

US Open 2013 Gear Check: Ana Ivanovic

Ana Ivanovic is wearing one of my favorite looks this week at the US Open in her adidas Adizero line of clothes — I’m loving the bright color combos in this collection! She takes the court in the next round against American, Christina McHale (who also is wearing pieces from the adizero Fall collection). So, let’s take a quick look at what Ana is styling on the courts of Flushing Meadows.

Ana Ivanovic at the US Open -- photo by Cynthia Lum

Ana Ivanovic at the US Open — photo by Cynthia Lum

Her apparel: The colors in this collection absolutely pop out there on the court and I love the reddish-orange combo with the dark blue. Ana is wearing the Fall Adizero Dress in the Hi-Res Red (orange) with Hero Ink color. This bold, lightweight adidas dress features a scoop neck, racerback straps, mesh inserts at the chest and upper back for increased ventilation. Also, this dress comes with a matching sports bra and compression short so you don’t have to worry about finding coordinating pieces! On her feet, she is wearing the adizero CC Tempaia IIs in a colorway that matches her dress perfectly. These lightweight, fast shoes offer extreme breathability and have been designed with maximum ventilation, which for sure help keep Ana’s feet cool on the hot NYC days. She shields the sun from her face, with her matching adizero II visor.

Her gear: Ana’s racquet of choice is the Yonex E-Zone Xi 98 which provides a stable, yet flexible, soft feel offering excellent power and a flexible, forgiving feel. From the baseline, this racquet feels very maneuverable allowing easy access to fast swings for power and spin generation. Shy hybrids her string with Solinco Tour Bite 16 with Wilson Natural Gut 16. She carries her gear on court with her Yonex Pro Bag.

Play with heart,

Michelle

Santa Maria Preparations

Preparations this week for the Santa Maria Open have gone really well. I have been playing as many sets as possible and trying to get my mind into match mode. I have 4 tournaments in a row coming up — so it’s important for me to get off to a good start. My movement is improving more and more every day and I’m feeling confident about the next few weeks.

What’s interesting is that this movement change and my rediscovery of the split step has really helped to alleviate some of the pressure I feel during the points. I don’t feel as if I have to go for broke anymore. I can bide my time, move the ball around and set up the point.

I think too many players get caught in the trap of the never ending pursuit of perfect technique and ball striking, and forget the simple fact that they are trying to get the ball in the court, more times than their opponent. There have definitely been times when I have been guilty of this. Sometimes I’ll almost brainlessly swing for the fences and forget that I’m playing a game of cat and mouse. Fortunately, those days are over. I really enjoyed my week of practice, I was able to relax, play within myself, not go for too much and just play the game.

I’m on my way to Santa Maria right now. I play my first singles match tomorrow morning at 9:30 am. I’ll update you as I go. Enjoy the US Open action!

Matt